Blaster Theory – The Difference Between Knowledge and Understanding

Alright, forewarning, I’m going to be getting a little philosophical today so please bear with me. If you’re a regular reader of the Mod Shop posts but don’t stick around for much else, hang around today and you might walk away with a new lease on modding. A lot of what I’m talking about today is more important than the basics of drilling out an air restrictor or the specifics on disassembling your RoughCut. Instead try to think about today’s topics as one of the very fundamentals of blaster modding, but also something you could apply to almost any aspect of your life. Specifically, don’t just remember how to do something, try to understand how it works.

See? I told you we’d be getting philosophical!

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Review – Nerf Hailfire – Part 3

Late last year I was gifted the then yet to be released in Australia Nerf Hailfire by the Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag group and Hasbro Australia and decided to make a three part review of it. The first was on the performance of the stock blaster, the second on how to modify it, and the third on how it performed in game. We’ve already covered off the first two and given that I don’t yet have an internet connection in the new house as yet and am writing this on my phone, today seemed like the perfect time to post my final reflection piece on the flagship of the new elite line up.

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Interview – Australian Blaster Enthusiasts – Part Two – Now with added Pocket

Hello blaster enthusiasts of Australia and the world once again! The post for this week is a continuation of last week’s interview of Australian Blaster Enthusiasts.

Again, for those of you outside of Australia, please take the opportunity here to see how people outside of your community play. Notice the similarities and differences and hopefully you’ll learn something you can apply within your own community. For my fellow Australians (said in a suspiciously POTUS voice…) have a look at what the other states and groups around the country are doing. We’re a relatively small country population wise but I think we punch well about our weight in the international blaster community. It’s time to give up with the infighting, yeah?

So with all that out of the way, lets reintroduce you to today’s interviewees.

From New South Wales we have Matt, admin with Sydney Nerf Wars (Facebook and Forums), and Chris, admin with Riverina Dart Tag.
From Victoria we have Grep, State Lead Organiser on Australian Nerf (AN).
From Tasmania we have Alex, admin on Squadron of Foam Tasmania (S.O.F.T.).
From South Australia we have FaytZero and Winterstrike, both Admins on Australian Nerf, and AJ, admin on Foam Sports.
From West Australia we have Mohrlock, admin with West Nerf, and Stawsonia, State Lead Organiser on Australian Nerf.
Nobody I could find in the Northern Territory 😦
From Queensland we have Rolley from Street Tag Warfare, Clunk of Clunk Weapons Co and an admin on OzNerf, and Girly Gamer from Nerfenstein (Blog, Facebook, and Twitter).
From my home here in the Australian Capital Territory we have Neil, admin with Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag and Chris from Combustible Props.

Each respondent was sent a series of 10 questions regarding their blaster usage and their thoughts on the Australian community (today we’ll answer questions 6-10). I know I sure found some of the responses particularly interesting and I hope you do too. Big thanks to all those who gave their time in responding; I really hope it improves our little corner of the world.
Cheers,
Joe

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Edit: Hold the press! Late entry from the one and only Pocket of Urban Taggers, again from my very own ACT. We’ll run through Pocket’s first five questions that everyone else answered last week, then add him on the end of questions 6-10.

Go team!

Pocket – Urban Taggers

How did you first get into the hobby? When?
I love toys; always have as a kid and never grew out of it. Also always been a big fan of toy blasters, though I was more into water guns and laser tag than projectiles.

What do you think most attracted you to it originally?
Very much the role play toy element, but also the way a blaster just adds a layer of randomness and hilarity to any situation. I’ve always maintained the fact that leave 2 blasters in the middle of the room, be it an office, lounge or classroom, fill the room with some people, and just wait and see what happens. It’s AWESOME.

What’s your favourite thing about the hobby now?
To be honest, it’s still the same as when I first started. I probably also like the way the kit has evolved and developed over the years, but I still stay true to the toy element and casual fun that comes with them.

How would you describe you main usage of blasters? Do you take part in organised games, mess around with friends, just enjoy modding, mostly in it for the collecting, etc? Why?
As a toy collector I’m a bit of a completionist, but I still believe toys are made to be played with so I don’t keep them in boxes for value. I tend to leave 3-4 lying around my living room area for when guests come over; tend to rotate them every few weeks for a bit of variety. I admit I’m never one for organised wars nor care much for what makes them tick- it’s really for random, impromptu, indoor casual fun.

Do you mod your blasters? Why/why not?
Nope. Mainly because I don’t like opening things up when I’m doubtful of my ability to put them back together again; for my purposes they do their job fine stock in an indoor environment. I am impressed with what people can do with them, but it’s just not my thing. I do love aesthetic mods, but don’t have the patience to do it.

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Ok, and back to our regularly scheduled programming.

First Blaster?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
My first blaster was the Switchshots Max. It was great. While not the best water gun out there, it could send MegaDarts probably about 30ft/10m. Not bad if you ask me. I had the whistling ones, which were always really cool. My first blaster when returning to the hobby was none other than the N-Strike Recon CS-6. I picked it over the Raider because I liked the look of it more. I’ll admit though, I regret keeping the Recon for myself and giving the Raider to my brother. That was one of the worst decisions in my Nerf-ing career.

FaytZero – SA AN
My first blaster was a Nite-Finder which I took the air restrictors out and added rubber bands to the plunger rod to give it more power. They are great pistols that are great for members who are just starting, cheap and effective.

Chris – Combustible Props
Maverick!

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
Nerf Nightfinder! I still have it too, but it’s now heavily modded.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
Technically that would be the Nerf Bow & Arrow. In more recent times it would have been buying two Recons at the same time. I still have those two, all the usual basic mods without replacement parts.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
POS Vulcan…

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
My first blaster was a clear Maverick — “because it looks cool”.

Winterstrike – SA AN
Buzz Bee Belt Blaster, don’t judge me.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
My first blaster (technically) was a SSPB. That broke quickly (I was around 7 or so, I believe). I then bought a Lanard First Shot, not realising its potential at my age. When I restarted back in ’09, I bought a Recon, as it was the only real rifle sized blaster available locally.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
1st one ever, an old twin shot. The first of my new collection was either a yellow tommy 20, or 3 recons.
Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
2 Vulcans! I didn’t mess around with Nitefinders and Mavericks.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
I think the first Nerf blaster I purchased was the Nerf Barricade, well that was first in the trolley, I bought two of those and a bunch of others due to the huge sale.

AJ – Foam Sports
N-Strike Recon x 2 closely followed by a maverick. PERFECT NOOB TRI-FECTA!

Alex – SOFT
I started out with the Longshot and Stampede, a bandolier and a flip-clip kit. Bought them from a local Toy World… wayyyy too overpriced, but for the memories and where it has lead me to; priceless ❤

Pocket – Urban Taggers
Depends on how you interpret this question, it would have to be the Nerf NB1- I used to ‘battle’ my cousin with this, and he had the Nerf slingshot. Wars didn’t last very long, nor were very accurate. Following this, my first real DART blaster would be the Nerf Powerclip DX1000 which I still love to this day. What got me into the hobby at this stage of my life, would have to be the 4pack of Nerf Eliminators, which was a staple for our office and inspired us to start an arms war, buying bigger and better kit.

 


 

Favourite blaster? Why?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
My favourite blaster is the Longshot. It’s an iconic blaster within the modding community because of its large plunger tube and the fact that it can use N-strike clips (which I think are one of the best things that Nerf has ever done). It’s just the versatility that does it for me.

FaytZero – SA AN
At present I’m going to have to go with my “Repulser” it’s a Long-Strike with Mortar Pistol air tank installed, and has a clip accepting brass breech which I designed myself. I have painted it red and gold and  it has started a wave of blasters of similar design being seen around several communities now. I’m a fan of blasters that have great accuracy, to me hitting my target the first time has priority over rate of fire and range.

Chris – Combustible Props
The Stampede for sure. Its a fully automatic nerf blaster that has decent modding potential and takes clips. Oh and the rate of fire! When you strap two modded stampedes together and link the triggers you end up with something to be feared. The fun of emptying 2 drums worth of darts only slightly outweighs the time spent loading, and loading and loading…

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
That’s a tough question. I don’t think I have a blaster that I don’t like, but I have to say that my Xplorer grip Longshot is my current choice although the paintjob isn’t public friendly. For public wars I tend to favour my Nerf Rampage.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
The Recon. I’m yet to be sold on the Retaliator but am sure it may replace this. Why? I love having a clip-fed blaster able to broke down to a pistol size. That being said my preferred Recon at the moment, with the BT Kit, I usually use with a yellow Raider Stock due to the really stiff trigger/catch spring it has and the Spectre barrel to help straighten the odd stray shot.

The other reason I love the Recon? It’s kind of the underdog of the clip system blasters in the N-Strike range. Not many people use them compared to other blasters, like the ever-prevalent Longshot or Stampede, so it normally sets me aside from the crowd.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
Favourite blaster to mod has to be the Longshot. Main reason is the surprising amount of power you can get out of it, and the overall feel when using it.

Favourite blaster’s in my collection would be my; Modded Titan Pegasus for aesthetics and power, ETRL PAS with Raider pistol grip/stock – this blaster justs looks sexy, vacuum loads, and hits over 100ft with phenomenal accuracy.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
Shortly after that, I bought an Alpha Trooper, which is my favourite because it feels right in the hand; the pump-action is comfortable, and I can either shoot slowly and carefully one shot at a time, or charge in, slam-firing and spray the enemy, shortly before getting out.

Winterstrike – SA AN
Either a Berzerker or a Triple shot. Good long range capabilities, sturdy design and flexible for all situations.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
My favourite blaster is hard to pick. It would have to be my Crossbow though. I particularly love mine as it seems to have a bit more punch than other Crossbows in the country with its stock spring and plunger head, but mostly for its laser accuracy.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
Well my fav blaster will always be the power clip, it was the first blaster I ever got to play with, and fell in love with straight away. Failing that for games, my trusty OMW’d AT with red dot scope and cut down night finder, because there is no horde big enough that I cannot face them down with those 2 blasters.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
That’s a tough one. I’m a big fan of the Stampede (as long as it’s got a Black Tactical kit in it). I used an Alpha Trooper almost exclusively for about 8 months as well. These days I just use flywheel stuff like Barricades and Rayvens because a) voltage mods are easy and b) they’re cheap blasters so it doesn’t bother me if I blow one up.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
That is REALLY tough, I have a lot of favorites, all for different reasons. At the moment I love the Rayven, it is such a beautiful design. If the rumors are true I like the look of the Firestrike also.

AJ – Foam Sports
It sucks but damn I just love the shell of the alpha trooper – so streamlined.

Alex – SOFT
Technically speaking it would be a Longshot. However, I modified my first Longshot to keep the internals, but with the exterior shell cross-bred with a Longstrike barrel, shoulder stock and trigger grip. Dubbed the “Longunov” the goal was to make it look like a Nerf-style Dragunov sniper rifle (keeping it in Nerf colours of course :P) while being Nerf-War worthy.

“Why” is a hard one; I also love the Spectre being a revolver-style and for quick draws, the Scout has always been a faithful and compact sidearm, and I’ve really gotten hooked onto my Rayven, and Vulcan “Iron Kurtain” minigun mod is VERY cool… but honestly despite all that, the Longunov still is, and always will be, my favourite and main blaster of choice. It was one of my first, I played around with it a lot and did HOURS of target practice with it, it’s the first blaster I modded, then later was also my first major step into cosmetic and higher level internal mods, it has surpising accuracy despite not shooting as far as some other Longshots I’ve seen, but it has won me MANY battles (especially Free-For-Alls which is astounding for such a slow-rate-of-fire blaster :P)… but most of all I think it’s what I’d define as my crown achievement thus far; my own unique blaster that noone else has, and it describes my Nerf Identity flawlessly 🙂

Pocket – Urban Taggers
A real tough q because it does depend on my mood at the time, i tend to revisit and ‘rekindle the flame’ as they would say. Right now, I’d have to say the Nerf Vortex Pyragon- it’s just awesome on so many levels. Last year I would have said the Alpha Trooper, and before the Alpha Trooper It’d have to be the Raider. I guess I have a thing for pump action slam fire:)


 

What’s missing from the Australian blaster community at the moment? What do you think can be done to fix that?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
What’s missing? That’s really hard to pinpoint. Many other Nerfers around Australia are very keen on interstate events and the like. However, I can’t say I support pushes for those sorts of things. Clashes of egos and discrepancies in rules sets just present too many barriers. If there can be something that can be done to fix it, it’d be a standardised rules set that all the state communities can agree to. It’ll be difficult, but it might become a reality one day, when we’re all ready.

FaytZero – SA AN
The two most important things that any community needs including ours are organization and co-operation, now we do see it from time to time between all of our communities but no where near the level required to be able to take out sport/hobby to the next level. I think if we all spent a little less time bickering about small things and looked at the Australian community as a whole we could create something great that we could all be proud of.

I would love to see more interstate competitions and wars as I feel that is a great way to start things off in creating a better understanding of each other, and in turn creating more co-operation and then organization will follow as we start to talk more.

Chris – Combustible Props
I’m not sure that anything is missing from the blaster community in Australia, and in particular Canberra. We seem to be the Meca for exclusives. In regards to the prop building community, it seems to be pretty small in Australia. Nerfenstein and myself are the only larger ones Im aware of. In the US it’s a different matter entirely as every man and his dog has jumped on the Volpin props bandwagon (Google for awesome builds) and is highly contested. In Australia it seems to be more open and akin to the US about 5 years ago. So… to fix that? I guess I had better get started 😀

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
I think a little more community involvement with events and wars would be great. There’s quite a few very talented war organisers out there already, but I feel like if they had a helping hand they’d be able to get a lot more events running in many more areas.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
Officially sanctioned Dart Tag competitions. Dart Tag has always held a fond place in my heart, and I used to try to push it on anyone interested. It requires a similar skill-set to most other Nerf game types, but just adds in a measurable point scoring system and nullifies most of the over-powered blasters.

I have my inclination to believe it may be coming in the future, with Hasbro finally bringing the Dart Tag line for sale into Australia again. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, my hopes high and try not to get to disgruntled if it never happens.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
My biggest issue with the Aussie community is our inability to pick up vintage blasters from secondhand/goodwill stores. When you compare the prices that we have to pay off of ebay as opposed to the couple of $$ that the Americans pay for these blasters, it really does get frustrating. Obviously there’s not much that can be done about that, but a guy can dream. I think if us Aussie’s had more access to rare blasters, then you’d definitely see a greater variety of modifications being produced by our guys.

Also, I think a standardised gaming ruleset and dart type would be advantageous. I have serious doubts that it could ever happen with rulesets, but dart type is possible, especially considering the performance and pricing of the Velocity Tag sili darts.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
I think it’s a real shame that there are so many different groups, even within one state — sharing interests and members would benefit all the groups and all the people involved. It seems to me that there is a lot of ego-boosting going on in being “The Head Of My Very Own Group”; whereas we’d all get a lot more fun if we had a more diverse range of more people. How do we fix it? I dunno. We’ve got a few ideas in store to attend similar events and invite those people to ours; let’s see how it goes in six months.

Winterstrike – SA AN
Tournaments, tournaments, tournaments. If you inject money/fun into anything, it’ll be a success, no matter how ridiculous the premise. All this stems from a lack of organisation and general enthusiasm. All this would be easily remedied if people stopped asking questions like the one above.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
What’s really missing from the Australian community at the moment is the lack of cohesion that we have. Unfortunately past events has meant that different communities have split off from the whole, and we are no longer the national group that was on OzNerf back in early 2010. Otherwise, we just need a larger promotion of researching everything yourself, and exploring alternatives and DIY compared to just buying a kit from OMW or Xplorer. That is just my opinion, however.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
I think the blaster community is an up and coming thing. It is starting to be accepted by more and more cities, hell, even WWCC came around in the end, I think it need to be recognised more as a sport by society, and players need to lose that fear of being ridiculed by passers by. AS time goes by, I think these issues will pass.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
The Nerf community in Australia mimics the issues you’d find in any community. Some groups are insular, some groups think their way is the best way, some groups discriminate against other groups, some want to unite the community, some only play one type of game (like HvZ) etc etc. I don’t see that as a problem that needs to be fixed as such. Considering how geographically spread out we are, and how diverse a bunch we are, it’s inevitable we don’t all agree with each other or get along.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
I can’t think of anything huge really, I think it’s a great community full of great / friendly people. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I guess an overarching one website / forum would be great, as it’s hard to visit all the different forums when you’ve got work, family and other commitments. If there was one overarching community forum that all the key members of the many Australian Nerf communities ran or were regulars at, that would be great, a sort of one stop shop. I realize that’s quite difficult as these things tend to splinter via locale or interests (much like the deluge of video game forums), but it would be very handy for users… a sort of one stop shop.

AJ – Foam Sports
Well… I think I’ll just preface this.. take it all with a grain of salt. I’m based in Adelaide and the community down here appears to be quite different to many of the others around Asutralia.

Overall though a ‘lack of unity’is pretty obvious – people need to stop thinking that ‘their’ way to nerf is the ‘right’ way to nerf.. as that concept is laughable. People should give everything a shot and also just accept that some people like different things. We can still support each other and respect each other even if we don’t have the same oppinions on some things.

What can be done: People can stop being butthurt? This one is really up to the people that have ‘the beefs’ to settle, but for everyone else, reach out, expand your horizons, go see how the other side live. Accept people that do different things etc

This also ties into the attitude of some parts of the community:

I really dislike some instances i’ve seen of guys that mod talking down to people that prefer to play stock etc or people calling someone weak because they don’t want to be in a war full of singled titans. At the end of the day, we’re grown ups playing with toy guns, please leave any semeblance of ‘toughness’ or a ‘macho attitude’ at the door, because you really forfeited it when you picked up the bright yellow toy.

What can be done: just drop the tough guy attitude I guess?

Game design- This only really applies to ‘nerf’ as a competitve sport, so many people who are just in it for modding etc probably won’t get much out of this but..

This is a big one – everything is just generally pretty haphazard and messy rules etc wise. One of my biggest pet peeves is boundries and terrain – often clear boundries aren’t set or are broken, or the fields are just generally unbalanced because we’re playing in whatever park we could find at the time. Anyone who’s played FPS can tell you how imortant map design is to the game, and in nerf it’s the same.

At the moment with all the variance; haphazard fields, random teams, rules, blasters, etc etc nerf isn’t something you can ‘learn’, it’s pretty hard to get quantifiably better at, as all of the things change so much between wars. This also makes it really hard for new people coming in – what do they prepare for, how do they propperly ‘learn’ to nerf, is it even possible to ‘practice’? etc

What can be done: In the year 2156 there will be a planetary allignment that will finally enable all players to agree on some common rules.. util then we’re probably boned.

Alex – SOFT
This might sound like an odd answer that may seem like it’s dodging the question… but I think that being based in Tasmania, we’re a little bit cut off from how the Australian community is really like on the mainland. Especially compared to certain other groups with much larger populations and more frequent games.

Pocket – Urban Taggers
The fact that there’s even a blaster community to talk of is incredible- We’ve grown a LOT since I first got into this- I mean other than a few Mavericks and Nitefinders here and there, the extent of a store’s blaster range could be fit into three-four shopping carts (normally those who got to the store before me on the sales!). Now the toy stores are all almost wall to wall.

I admit though I’m not really an active member of the community given I don’t mod nor do I attend organised events, but just from the few things I’ve seen, I think acceptance is important- I’d probably like to see a lil’ more understanding that just because someone else doesn’t play the way you do, doesn’t mean they’re any better/worse than you.

 

How can the manufacturers best improve the hobby? What do you want to see from them in the coming years?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
As a modder, I was delighted to know that Hasbro had returned to something very similar to a “Direct Plunger” design, as seen in the new Elite series. However I was personally disappointed in the number of “Flywheel” blasters that are currently bouncing around in the rumour mill. Manufacturers like Buzzbee and Airzone have been making some good blasters. The Panther, for example, is something the US community has been raving about. If Buzzbee and Airzone were to continue on their current path, I can see the hobby, from a modding and warring perspective, grow into something far less niche.

In the future, I’d like to see more Springer blasters, similar to the Retaliator and Rampage, and less Flywheel blasters. I’d also like to see the returns of blasters similar to the Magstrike. Perhaps even an updated version of the Stampede. But most importantly, I’d like to see all of these new releases from all manufacturers on Australian shelves. Too often do we see new models months (or even years) after the US release. Sometimes, we never see them at all. That needs to change.

FaytZero – SA AN
I think what they are doing know is fine, what we have to remember is that these are toys made for general enthusiasts and kids. The best thing they could do is create a secondary label and create gear marketed at us the warring and modding community so that it is clearly separated from the general kids toys and therefore allows parents and us to make better decisions in regards to purchases.

Equipment wise I would love to see some improvements on clip technology, I feel that at present they are far to unreliable for effective use. Unfortunately they are prone to jamming and that is something you don’t want in the middle of a fire fight. Other than that I’m also a big fan of multiple shot blasters and Sci-Fi looking equipment, I would love to see more blasters with these characteristics coming out.

Chris – Combustible Props
Stop with the repaints. Seriously.
I understand that you make money by creating demand but enough is enough. Though this being said at least they have stopped with the reverse plunger clones and gone with direct plungers in the Elite line. In the future id like to see more unique blasters that have modding potential.

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
Aftermarket parts, replacement parts and full blasters. I think for continued development and expansion there needs to be a manufacturer that develops products target directly for the older people that get involved in outdoor wars. Right now, the only manufacturer doing anything like this is Nerf with the elite line, but their stuff is still geared for kids. I would love to see a blaster designed specifically for competition. That said, stuff that’s coming out from Slydev and Xplorer is fantastic!

Mohrlock – West Nerf
Take blasters back to the base line! Don’t kill our local retailers by releasing different versions for Australia in comparison to other countries. I hate the whole Blue Trigger & Grey Trigger game we have to play here in Australia; they’re basically asking us to open our blasters to make them measure up to the rest of the world. I like it when we all got the same thing in every box the world over.

Things I’d like to see in years to come? I’d love to see N-Strike under-barrel ball launcher (grenade launcher) and shotgun (masterkey); something officially made by Hasbro – I prefer to be able to buy what I want not have to fabricate it. Seeing the old Tactical Vest 6 clips sold seperately. The Fury Fire to receive some Elite treatment. Digital pressure-sensitive dart tag vests so we can use streamlines for Dart Tag. Just a few things on my wishlist 🙂

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
I think Hasbro need to change their age demographic and start targetting the 20 to 35 yr bracket. Some more DP systems like the Longshot would be greatly appreciated.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
On all the internet sites that I’ve seen, there has been zero obvious interest or involvement from manufacturers. I find it hard to believe that they are unaware of interest groups and/or blaster modifications. It would benefit both them and us, I feel, to have some level of involvement from the people who actually design, test, and manufacture the goods — to see how the customers feel about their product, and to make those customers feel privileged by being interested in them.

Winterstrike – SA AN
They can hold their own tournaments. They’ve had some success in Singapore/USA but they need to publicise it more and market it to an older demographic. What I’d like to see is Hasbro actually create an entire department based on nothing but event management. They’ve already created a very popular sub culture and all they need to do to greatly profit from it is to organise events.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
In terms of what the manufacturers can do to help improve the hobby, I’d like to see more innovation. While more power can be nice, by modifying that point is moot anyway. Different feeding mechanisms, priming actions, etc, are what I’d like to see in the future. If Hasbro could make a clip fed lever action rifle, I’d be in on that in a heartbeat. That, or a proper shotgun type blaster that achieves more than the Triple Shots measly 10ft.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
I am starting to think that the hobby has hit that point in regards to manufactures, that they really can’t improve it much, without continuing to rehash old ideas. When you cut right down to the meat, the elite series are only slightly improved n-strike blasters. I think that over time all they are going to be able to do is keep improving the materials that they use. Though I don’t think that this will change the game up very much, think about what we were all saying before the release of the Vortex range… A real game changer we thought. I have seen blasters that will always out perform anything on the market, yes, I am talking about your long strike Joe, but even then, they don’t change it too much.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
I think with the release of the Elite line it’s clear that Nerf are certainly listening to the fans, and that’s a really positive development. Overall I think the more community engagement they have, the better the result for everyone. We’ve started to see Hasbro Australia make their first few tentative steps in that direction, and going forward that makes me very optimistic about the future of the hobby in Australia.

What I DON’T want to see in the future from dart blaster manufacturers is that they start to cater for the gun fetishists and COD losers by producing blasters that look more and more like ‘real’ guns. I know from speaking to my parents that as soon as that happens, Nerf are going to lose a lot of sales to the under 12’s. And let’s be clear about this, they’re toys. For kids.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
I think they’re doing pretty well 🙂 It would be nice to see them open up a little more in their advertising, we’re not all teenaged boys lol.

AJ – Foam Sports
I think that overall, blaster wise, things are going okay. The areas they could imporve in are accessories and consumables.

A lot of really cool things have come out in the last couple years – new Dart Tag, N-Strike Elite and Vortex – but the way these lines are supported and distributed hurt their chances of being widely adopted by the organised or competitve nerf community.

If hasbro were serious about dart tage being a ‘sport’ rather than a line of toys… give us the option to buy darts in larger packets than 16 and get out SOME GODDAM ADULT SIZE JERSEYS.

Vortex has the potential to be the defacto indoor war weapons, as they have great range and using stock blasters presents a lot less risk, but they need to make the accessories and consumables more widely available – disks are super expensive, only availabel in small QTY’s and WHY CAN I NOT BUY A 20 CLIP SEPERATELY HASBRO… WHY?

Elite also promises to offer a better ‘stock’ experience, but again the way they distribute the accessories is wierd… why can I only get 12 clips with a Retaliator? Why can’t we just buy stocks, sights etc?

Modders will always be disapointed… nothing will shoot 100ft out of the box, or with just an AR removal. Just deal with it, learn to mod well and it’s not a problem anymore.

Also, Hasbro Australia are a bit of a joke.. then again Nerf is only one product line of many for them.. but it does suck how little support we receive compared to say SG.

Alex – SOFT
I could rant on about a few things such as certain Nerf blasters never getting released into Australia (Firefly, Quick 16, etc) or how certain blasters are shop brand exclusives making them harder or more expensive to purchase, or the whole ‘detuned’ Elite series mess… but I think despite those setbacks, there is always ways around it like buying online or for those who can; modding. However it would be nice to see some sort of resolution where;
–  Blasters are easier to obtain
– Fewer new blasters that come out aren’t just simple re-shells or re-paints, and more original designs and unique mechanics
– Better availability of purchasing accessories seperately
– Getting blasters ‘generally’ powerful enough to perform better in outdoor conditions, where modding would not be necessary or required. (The Vortex and Elite ranges are good steps in that direction… although there is still some ways to go yet, but understandably the Australian toy safety regulations kind of decided that for us =_=)

As much as this may seem fanciful, I really like the idea of having regular official Tournaments (like the Dart Tag ones… although I think they’ve stopped now?) and other local events / group incentives to try and promote it more like a sport rather than just a hobby or a kids toy; in my opinion it has just as much potential as Paint Ball or Airsoft and certainly could gain enough interest if more events were organised by Nerf in Australia.

Pocket – Urban Taggers
I actually think manufacturers are doing a pretty decent job to be honest. I would like to see them have a stronger, smarter marketing pressence here in Australia to keep us in the loop on what is going on in the blaster world, BUT I also know as we are such a small market worldwide, it’s an issue we have in all areas, not just the toy blaster one. And I guess UT wouldn’t have grown so much if that HAD been the case:)


How do you describe the hobby to other people? Do you flaunt your enthusiasm or would most of your acquaintances in real life not know about it?

 Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
I’m not afraid to say that I’m a big fan of Nerf and that it’s my hobby. It bring in all the ladies!!! (it actually does the opposite). However, that doesn’t deter me because everyone is entitled to have their interests and hobbies. If a person will oust you or label you as socially awkward because you have a hobby that is different to theirs, then they aren’t worth being acquainted with. On the flip side, there are some who believe the quirky and unique hobby is an interesting conversation point.

FaytZero – SA AN
I definitely do not hide the fact I Nerf, almost everyone I know is fully aware of what I do and about the sport. Yes it can be a little hard at first to try to describe what we do as it’s so out there; I generally start be saying think of paint ball but more safe and less expensive. You also have more choice in your equipment than paint ball as you get to customize and modify it yourself.

Chris – Combustible Props
Depends on who im describing it to, for example if its to someone who has no idea id say something like “Its like cheap and accessible paintball”. If it were to someone who had similar interests I’d grab them while shaking them ask “WHY ARENT YOU PLAYING THIS AWESOME GAME YET?” lol

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
I usually just show them a picture or two of my modded blasters, it’s easier than explaining. I often flaunt my latest gear and quite often I get the reaction of “WOW that’s so cool! how do I do that!”

Mohrlock – West Nerf
I’m not too shy to share my passion for it. It’s kind of hard to hide when I get tagged in photos on Facebook anyways, so most people have seen me pulling “derp” faces holding Nerf blasters many times online *laughs*.

How do I describe the hobby though? I normally let people know that it’s just like any sport, you run around and have objectives or “win conditions” and play all sorts of games. I call it a “community sporting group”, because functionally that’s really what West Nerf is. We just shoot eachother rather than using some kind of ball is all.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
Most of my good mates and family are all aware of the hobby – it’s a bit hard for them not to when my workshop is loaded full of Nerf parts, and there’s about 50 blaster’s hanging off racks on the walls. I wouldn’t say that I flaunt it, but certainly don’t hide it. It’s not a bad ice-breaker when meeting new people either – I think the majority of people are closet Nerf fans!!

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
It’s a strategy game where we use toy guns which launch soft darts to score points. I try to be careful to point out that we’re not gun nuts and careful about safety — we have fewer injuries in a single day than the average football or tennis club.

Some people are interested, some aren’t. That’s ok, I’m not interested in football or cricket; but having a variety of interests gives the guys at work something to talk about during the day.

Winterstrike – SA AN
It’s a sport, same as soccer, football or cricket to me. The second question smacks of condescension, as you would not ask the same question of a tennis, Grand Prix or basketball fan.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
Introducing the hobby is always tricky. I always make a point of differentiating it from stock blaster muck-abouts at home, especially if talking to guys about high school/uni age.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
Oh, I flaunt the hell out of it. When I am describing it, I tend to describe it as either poor mans paintball, a form of advanced tag with blasters, or just a great excuse to get out and run around with a fun group of people.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
All of my non-Nerf/HvZ/’battle sports’ friends are aware of my hobbies to some degree. They’re all supportive or at least accepting of it – to my face at least

I tried explaining this stuff to work colleagues once. Once.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
I don’t really describe it, but all my family and friends know I’m into it due to my incessant updates on what I’m working on. My family are fantastic and all involve themselves in different ways. Strangers find it a little strange, I’ve had a cashier in a store say “Who’s the lucky boy” when I’ve bought loads of Nerf, when I’ve replied “I am” for amusements sake, being a woman I’ve had the judgmental look… I just find that a little sad and think it says more about that cashier than it does about me. Keep your inner child alive I say 🙂

AJ – Foam Sports
All of my friends know about it, for me it’s not something to be ashamed of. At the same time, I rarely try and ‘convert’ any of my friends into becoming full on nerfers, as at its present state the hobby/scene requires a lot of commitment to be a part of and I think people need to decide to go down that path themselves rather than being pushed. I’ll happily show my friends some blasters, let them play with some of the cool ones, but I don’t hustle them into joining the war or modding scene etc.

Alex – SOFT
I think I’m 50/50; some people I don’t talk to them about it either due to they wouldn’t understand or be interested, or may be inappropriate. However to the others who do know and understand me… then yeh I guess I do flaunt / get carried away with it 😛 especially my work colleagues; its kind of like a big ongoing joke to everyone (except the boss… who doesn’t seem to know *yet* 😛

Pocket – Urban Taggers
After obvious media exposure early this year, most of my non-nerf friends KNOW about my hobby. I normally just say I’m a toy collector and write a blog about toy guns. Everyone knows me well enough to know this isn’t abnormal behaviour for me:) I don’t flaunt it per se, it’s just something I do and enjoy.

Interview – Australian Blaster Enthusiasts – Part One

Hello blaster enthusiasts of Australia and the world! Today marks a special occasion that I was hoping to bring out to celebrate my 20,000th view. The theory was to conduct an interview with all of the powers that be throughout Australia in the blaster community.(Un)Fortunately, readership picked up over the past month or so and I hit that milestone far sooner than expected (29/10/12 @ 11:05 if you were curious). Sooo… you all get a slightly belated view into the Australian blaster scene instead!

For those of you outside of Australia, please take the opportunity here to see how people outside of your community play. Notice the similarities and differences and hopefully you’ll learn something you can apply within your own community. For my fellow Australians (said in a suspiciously POTUS voice…) have a look at what the other states and groups around the country are doing. We’re a relatively small country population wise but I think we punch well about our weight in the international blaster community. It’s time to give up with the infighting, yeah?

So with all that out of the way, lets introduce you to today’s interviewees.

From New South Wales we have Matt, admin with Sydney Nerf Wars (Facebook and Forums), and Chris, admin with Riverina Dart Tag.
From Victoria we have Grep, State Lead Organiser on Australian Nerf (AN).
From Tasmania we have Alex, admin on Squadron of Foam Tasmania (S.O.F.T.).
From South Australia we have FaytZero and Winterstrike, both Admins on Australian Nerf, and AJ, admin on Foam Sports.
From West Australia we have Mohrlock, admin with West Nerf, and Stawsonia, State Lead Organiser on Australian Nerf.
Nobody I could find in the Northern Territory 😦
From Queensland we have Rolley from Street Tag Warfare, Clunk of Clunk Weapons Co and an admin on OzNerf, and Girly Gamer from Nerfenstein (Blog, Facebook, and Twitter).
And from my home here in the Australian Capital Territory we have Neil, admin with Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag and Chris from Combustible Props.

Each respondent was sent a series of 10 questions regarding their blaster usage and their thoughts on the Australian community. I know I sure found some of the responses particularly interesting and I hope you do too. Big thanks to all those who gave their time in responding; I really hope it improves our little corner of the world.

I had originally planned to run this as one post, but given that I’m currently well over 9000 words (closer to 12,000 for those of you playing at home), I think I’ll split this over two weeks. Be sure to check back next week for questions 6-10!
Cheers,
Joe

 

How did you first get into the hobby? When?

What do you think most attracted you to it originally?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
It’s hard to say really. I was probably about 10 years old when I got my first Nerf Blaster (one of those old school SwitchShot Max things that did water and foam), but I’d wanted to play with Nerf blasters well before then. I believe my interest was sparked by the advertisements on TV showcasing how “awesome” Nerf really was. My parents didn’t want to spoil me too much though, so it took them a couple of years to buy me my first one. I lost interest in Nerf when I was about 12, but picked it back up again when I started my retail job and saw how much the blasters had changed. That was when I was 18!

Originally, I just liked the idea of shooting projectiles. Being a 10 year old, you generally don’t think of much else with a gun shaped toy in your hand. If it shoots, that’s great! If it shoots far, that’s even better! When I was 18, it was more the look of the blasters that piqued my curiosity. They’d evolved into something that looked and felt more real. I liked that.

FaytZero – SA AN
I have been Nerfing for just over 5 years now, I started when I was 18 back in 2008. I turned up to my first war with a stock Long-Shot and AR’d Nite-Finder with rubber bands attached to the plunger rod to give it more power. I tagged along with 4 of my other friends who also had never played before, one of us found OZNerf and saw that there was a war is SA and well it took off from there.

I always liked the concept of Nerf, same as paintball and Air-Soft but since Air-Soft is illegal and paintball was so expensive Nerfing was just a natural progression. I’m keen on projectile sports that involve tactics, team work and encourage physical activity. I was and am still very interested in the engineering aspect of Nerf, opening a blaster and seeing what you can do to improve it beyond it’s original design. There’s nothing more satisfying than spending a few hours crafting a masterpiece then using it in a war and seeing your hard work paying off.


Chris – Combustible Props
My first nerf blaster was a ‘Ye Old Maverick’ from ThinkGeek. When they were first released on that site (5-6 years ago) myself and a number of co-workers did a group buy of them so we could have a little fun in the office. I *really* got into the whole modding aspect when I bought my first Stampede for an Aliens M41A Pulse rifle prop I started about 2 years back (Note that this Pulse rifle still isn’t finished!). And by coincidence that was the time I started down the path to being a prop building.

I have now worked on local movie called Theatre of the Dead and a large number of theatre productions with the ultimate aim of having my own small prop making business.

I think at that time the nerf brand was limited to balls and things so seeing this cool little revolver style nerf blaster was sweet! That and the idea we all had to have inter-office wars.

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
I think I first got in to it properly a few years ago when I stumbled upon the SG Nerf blog, and after reading about the tons of different blasters out there I was immediately like “WHOAH! There’s so many!” and started collecting!

I think the ability to mod the hell out of them and the out of the box customisation is what really attracted me. I love working with my hands so modding was only a natural path to follow.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
It’s kinda a two-tailed story. I first got into Nerf sixteen years ago when my friend had got the original Nerf Bow & Arrow for his birthday. Naturally I had to get my hands on one that summer as well.

I truly got into Nerf about 4 years ago by tangent searching the internet at work (as you do). Being the geek that I know I am, I ended up stumbling across the Humans Vs. Zombies forum and got hooked on the idea of eventually running the game in Western Australia. I’d already been into playing Dart Tag with velcro darts some years ago, but never heard of playing with Nerf on such a level. I started buying into the N-Strike range and things started to spiral out of control.

I’m huge on RPGs of all varieties and have been for almost two decades now. I think the aspect of bringing Live Action Role Play (LARP) into a post-apocalyptic setting with foam blasters that are (generally) clip-fed said it all.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
I came in to the hobby fairly late in life. I was bought a Vulcan for my 30th birthday in 2010. Typically, I have to know how things work, and after a bit of googling, I came across OzNerf and NerfHaven.

I’m a guy – we all like shooting stuff!! Really though, it’s the hands-on of modding that really sucked me in, which stems from my background as a rigger/boiler-maker.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
About two years ago, my two oldest kids, both boys, wanted to buy Nerf guns to play real-life Counterstrike or similar at home. After arriving home and looking up “nerf guns australia” on the internet, they discovered (semi-)organised groups, which they then pestered me to take them to. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, and having a chance to spend time (a) outdoors and (b) with my teenage sons, I bought a Maverick, shortly followed by an Alpha Trooper, and joined in.

Winterstrike – SA AN
I’m not sure what did it, and it was about 6 years ago. I think we were just looking for an alternative to paintball/airsoft. I joined Oznerf about 3 months after it was created and talking with a few people on there got me to start modding.

Something that I could play with my nephews and friends that was available. Again, if airsoft/paintball were available for 6 year olds, I would have gone down that path.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
I first got into the hobby while researching alternative forms of combat sports, like paintball and airsoft. This was back at the start of ’09. My first “real” war was in the middle of 2010 with a group of guys that we rounded up together. Finally, in the December of 2010, the West Nerf team finally started up, and had the first “Official” war, which was a blast.

What originally attracted me was the ability to be able to play in a far wider variety of locations for cheaper than continually playing paintball or even laser tag. Always being a big fan of milsim, the useage of clips and slightly more realistic shapes also played into my involvement.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
Through a mate who was organising the now defunct CSU HvZ Group, Ash, about 4 1/2 – 5 years ago.

The struggle to survive, and just how normal it felt to wander through public areas covered in foamy goodness.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
Back in early 2010 I was down the coast (Bateman’s Bay) with some friends for a few days and the brother of one of the girls brought down a Vulcan. It got a lot of use over the long weekend, and before I’d even left the coast I’d bought two from the local Kmart.

Referring back to the first question the Vulcan seemed a lot of fun. It was big and pretty cool looking. But after a couple of weeks of the missus and I blasting each other and our respective house mates, it all got a bit boring. That’s when I started thinking ‘there must be more you can do with these’. A bit of internet searching later and I’d come across the OzNerf forums, and half a dozen noob questions later I’d found out about something called ‘HvZ’. Not only that but there was game coming up the following weekend at the Australian National University. By then I had a Raider too, so with that and my Vulcan I pitched up to the game. I had no idea what to expect, and realistically I had a pretty bad game my first time out, but it was enough to ‘catch the bug’.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
I bought my first Nerf back in July / August 2011. I got into modding them aesthetically a couple of weeks later when I thought it would be fun to try and paint a Tek blaster (didn’t want to ruin any of the Nerf lol).

There was a big Nerf sale on and I thought my family would have fun if I bought a few…. I was right!

AJ – Foam Sports
I started back in early 2008, so almost 5 years ago now. The Recon had just hit Australian shores and a friend of mine showed me after he bought it. I went out and bought 2 recons and we had some good fun just shooting each other around the house. The same friend mentioned that he’d heard there was a website that showed you how to make them shoot further, and after a bit of searching I stumbled upon Nerfhaven and NHQ where my realy ‘nerf’ journey began.
Nerf blasters have an intrinsic ‘cool’ quality about them; people generally think blasters are cool or novelty, but beyond that for me I liked the challenge of making the blasters perform beyond what they were designed to do. Adelaide Nerf Wars and any kind of social or competitive aspect really didn’t exist when I started, so it was all about modding the guns as best as possible and trash talking on American nerf forums.

If I was just modding blasters on my own I really don’t think I would have kept it up for 5 years, so I’d like the take the time to mention and thank two guys – Tidge (or The Inventor Guy) and Chaos Blades (screen names obviously). They’ve both been into nerf for way longer than me, and I met them through Nerf Haven and started hanging out with them after I got into nerf. They took me in, taught me how to do some mods and are solely responsible for curing my ‘noobness’. We found a few more adelaide guys and started to have wars down here.

Tidge and CB did dart hire before that was really a ‘thing’, they would let us borrow blasters because ours sucked.. it would inspire you to try harder, get better at modding and really helped the community get off the ground. This was right around the time OZnerf started getting more users and this ‘Adelaide Resurgence’ got a lot of attention and made other people start lifting their game, which grew over time into the Australia wide organised nerf scene we have today.

Nerf without a community would be a sad thing, so I want to acknowledge these guys for their contributions both personally to my growth as a serious nerfer and modder, and also to the current overall scene which I believe is really built upon the foundations of their efforts back in 08/09.

Alex – SOFT
It’s actually a bit of a long story but I’ll *try* to keep it trim. I went to a relatives’ Christmas party in 2010. His son got a Nerf Vulcan, Maverick and a Nitefinder, and some kids around his age had some Mav’s and NF’s as well. My brother and I joined in for a backyard battle… and we were hooked xD
But it wasn’t until about a month later in 2011 some of my friends came over to my place and we all discussed how we’d seen them at Xmas time… next thing I knew we were all out in the ute, filling the boot with Nerf loot 😛
Another aproximate-month passed and I found online communities, forums, and discovered modding. This combined with finding and joining a local Nerfing community that had just started up – it all snowballed (in a good way) from there on 😀

In the beginning stages I feel it was the novelty of having a unique kind of toy that I didn’t get to experience when I was a kid. In addition they are *toy guns* that actually fire *safe* projectiles; it doesn’t get much cooler than that for me! Although I enjoy laser skirmish based games, I constantly get frustrated with not being able to see epic headshots that I scored, or being able to tell who hit me from where… Nerf blasters changed this perspective for me, and furthermore proved to be a great sports activity with friends.


 

What’s your favourite thing about the hobby now?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
Something that Nerf is great with is bringing like-minded people together. I’m really enjoying the community aspect of Nerf right now. The community in Sydney is flourishing, with a fairly diverse set of members ranging from 12 years old to well into their 50’s. It’s really the people that I’ve met and the bonds that I’ve developed that have really made Nerf one of the big things in my life.


FaytZero – SA AN
It hasn’t really changed, I still enjoying the team work and tactics behind this sport as well as that satisfying feeling when you have completed a long and hard modification then using it a game to great effect. The only thing that has changed since I first started is that now I have gotten to know my community I also go to enjoy their company, going to meet with them is as fun and exciting as Nerfing itself.


Chris – Combustible Props
It’s now hit a critical mass of awesome. There are so many groups all over the world playing and modding nerf blasters! I think my fav thing would be the sheer amount of talent out there for modding and the enthusiasm for playing HvZ/team games help keep the excitement there.
Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
The community and going to wars! They’re so much fun!

Mohrlock – West Nerf
The community. I love how a common interest has built this ever-growing large group of people who have become friends over the last few years. It’s a really positive thing to be a part of.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
2 things really – The NIC is a fairly big part of my life now, and I enjoy the social networking via the web. And probably the biggest enjoyment is seeing the finished product of a modification/commission.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
I’m a geek, I spend 40+ hours in an office in front of a computer. This hobby gives me a chance to get out into the fresh air, get some exercise, and meet real people interested in the same (non-computer) stuff that I’m interested in. And the point above about time with my kids is important to me too — I’m mid-40s, and they’re teenagers, so (based on my own experience) we’ve only a few years left to enjoy being together and doing things together.

Winterstrike – SA AN
The variety in which one can modify blasters/ammunition. No other sport I know of can one mould their tools so specifically to tailor one’s needs. Neither paintball/airsoft has this and the fact that nerf introduced this to me is serendipity.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
My favourite thing about the hobby now is experimenting with different forms of the hobby. I started on homemades at the beginning of 2011, and then over the last half year or so I have developed Australianised versions of American concepts, like hoppers and slugs. I also started being far more involved in our local milsim organisation, Tactical Skirmish Perth.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
My favorite thing about the hobby now would either be scaring the new zombies by running at them, rather then away, or the friendships that have developed in our club.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
For me now it’s about spending time with friends, having a laugh and introducing noobs to the hobby.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
The people I’ve met / connected with through my Facebook page (Nerfenstein) and various forums. The Nerf community is a truly great community, I’ve never had a problem, can’t rate it highly enough.

AJ – Foam Sports
For me nerf now exists as both a ‘hobby’ (modding etc) and a ‘sport’ (competitive play etc). I’m growing more and more passionate about the ‘sport’ side, but as far as pure ‘hobby’ or modding stuff goes I still love complex springers and homemade springers – I think airguns are too easy, so I like the challenge springers present, especially when you try and add other mechanical components like linked breeches, auto-rotating turrets etc.

Alex – SOFT
The more I got into Nerf blaster collecting / battling, the more I found just how much it really meant to me; for a long time I’ve always felt like I’ve had to conform to ‘the norm’ of what others expected of me (even though I’ve always been a bit on the quirky side) – I mean really, to the average bloke having a twenty-something year old tell them they play *and* collect *and* modify kids toy guns… it was embarrassing for a while…

But by getting into Nerf and discovering where it could (and did) lead me it really shattered those boundaries and made me feel like I had my own sense of identity, goals, confidence and (without sounding cheesy) independance, along with all the new friends I’ve made through this hobby.


 

How would you describe your main usage of blasters? Do you take part in organised games, mess around with friends, just enjoy modding, mostly in it for the collecting, etc? Why?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
I love Nerf wars. I feel it’s the ultimate purpose of Nerf, whether or not that’s what the line of toys was designed for. Here in Sydney, we’ve got a pretty strong warring community where we host organised events, which can get just that little bit competitive. And then there’s the HvZ community that’s growing out of Sydney University. We can’t forget them and the work that they’ve just begun!

FaytZero – SA AN
I do equal parts of modding and warring in organized games. Being one of the head members in SA I also take tame out to organize games and events so that we can keep a stable and prospering community. The SA Nerf community of one of the oldest with us having member who have actively Nerfed for over 6 years! That kind of community doesn’t just appear and hang around it take a lot of effort by it’s members to keep it going as smoothly as we have.

Chris – Combustible Props
I am one of the moderators for Canberra dart tag so tend to be at most of our organized games. I also mod blasters to use myself and when making props so collecting isn’t really my thing. I have been making props for about 2 years and am currently putting the finishing touches on a Warhammer 40k themed Recon kit. I will eventually move to solid replica props but having something that looks like your fav movie/game prop that fires nerf darts is awesome 😀

Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
Although I’d love to be out at a war every weekend, my work takes up large chunks of my time so really the main usage is collecting and messing around. Sometimes I’ll pick up a blaster to just pop a couple of shots, but then it turns in to half an hour of screwing around and targeting my unsuspecting girlfriend. I would like to spend more time on doing more complex mods in the future though.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
Fun? That’s probably the best way to describe my main usage of blasters. I’m actually a casualty to everything mentioned above. I love taking part in and organising games/events, certainly enjoy messing around with friends (how it all started), love the modding aspect of the scene and once had a fairly prolific collection.

The social aspect of organising games and watching something you’ve created on paper become a living, breathing game that people not only enjoy but keep asking to play is a great feeling. Modding is great to see what a little tinkering, blood, sweat and multiple profanities can produce from what is “intended” to be a kid’s toy. And the collecting, I’m just one of those obsessive compulsive collector types.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
Living in a small rural town, there’s not many Nerf enthusiasts close to my own age, so organised games are extremely limited. Foremost I’m a modder, and take great pleasure in supplying commission pieces to people all over the country. I also do a bit of vintage collecting, but that’s just a sideline.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
I have a few blasters from the N-strike range, because that’s what was available when I started. I’ve bought a few clone non-brand blasters too — I don’t have any particular brand loyalty, but I like the look and styling of the Nerf brand.

I seem to have fallen into the role of Victorian State Organiser on Australian Nerf, so I’m trying to host a war at least once a month, and trying to get to every war. Living an hour or so away from the suburbs means that we don’t have many people to be able to recruit and play with up here (although we’re trying), so apart from a very occasional war in the front yard with friends, it’s all at organised game events.

Winterstrike – SA AN
Nerf wars. I don’t use them at all for cosmetic reasons nor do I mod accordingly. Everything I make has the full intent to be dropped, stepped on, beaten or thrown so they have to be durable and perform well. Since I am the primary war organiser for events in SA, I take part in all organised events. As to why, I simply enjoy the sport that much.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
My main usage of blasters depends on the war. In the high-power wars I run, I normally use my Crossbow or my reshelled Snapbow Mk5. Otherwise I mainly use my upspringed Longshot, until my Magpul Retaliator project is completed. I mix up between the two depending on terrain and the ranges needed. I have almost always used my Scout as my sidearm, and it’s seen a lot of action at my side over the last 2 years.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
My main usage for blasters was for the most part the collecting, though now, I have reached that limit that I can only really justify buying new ones if they are cool/useful/or to mod it in some way.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
I’ve always been an ‘eventer’. It’s all about the games to me. Either attending or running them. I wouldn’t classify myself as a collector, serious modder or ‘apartment warrior’.

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
The main use of my blasters is aesthetically modding them, however I do have a whole collection that is just for playing with around the house, at parties with family and friends etc. As for why, I find modding them a great creative outlet and I also enjoy doing commissions for people who want a certain style but can’t do it themselves for whatever reason.

AJ – Foam Sports
I’ve done pretty much all of the above at some point – I started messing around with friends, then got serious for mostly modding reasons. My collection eventually swelled to over 170 blasters, including a lot of rare/old school stuff, but has since shrunk back down to a more managable size. I now mostly take part in organised games and maintain my blaster collection as a means to an end for those games.

Alex – SOFT
I am now one of the key leaders and game organisers of the Hobart Nerf Squadron; I usually organise a day of games every few weeks. My brother frequently drops by my place to hang out and occasionally have a muck-around with our latest additions to our collections 😛 and on occasions mod some of his blasters for him.
I do a fair amount of modding actually; even setup my own shed and miniature workshop for just that reason :P. And of course… I collect one too many blasters 😡 seriously I need more limbs just to carry and use them all…

 

Do you mod your blasters? Why/why not?

Matt – Sydney Nerf Wars
I do modify my blasters. I do it because I know some blasters have far more potential to be awesome compared to what they’re like out of the box. I like to push those blasters to their limits and achieve the very best results possible while not compromising the safety of the community members. I also gain that little bit of satisfaction out of being able to improve on something with my own skill and ingenuity. It isn’t often we get the chance to do such things in this day and age.

FaytZero – SA AN
Yes, of course! In SA we highly promote and use modified blasters, we don’t have anything against stock blaster but feel that you can get more out of the sport with modified blasters. Now we of course take safety into account and we take special care to ensure that all blasters and darts being used are safe and are not capable of causing and serious damage.


Chris – Combustible Props
Almost every blaster I use is modded as stock ranges/powers make puppies cry.
Rolley – Street Tag Warfare
Sure do! I just like having an extra bit of power, but I don’t usually have the time to do major cosmetic mods or custom breeches.

Mohrlock – West Nerf
I do and I don’t. I mod pretty much every Recon that comes into (and out of) my possession. I’ve done the odd Nitefinder as well and do the occassional mods for friends as well. I like modding for others more than myself though. My Black Tactical Recon has been super reliable and range-producing so I enjoy keeping most of my other blasters stock. I’ve been lucky with stock blasters like my Furyfire and Strikefire – those things get ridiculous stock ranges for some reason. And it’s always fun playing competively with a stock Longstrike.

Clunk – Clunk Weapons Co
Yep, see above. The only stock blasters in my workshop are set aside for either commissions or parts for modding. Even my 3 y.o. daughter’s blasters have been modded (cosmetically) and include a scout, stampede and reflex.

Grep – Victoria SLO AN
I do, but not as enthusiastically as some others. Most of my modding is painting and highlighting details.

It’s nice to be able to get better performance (range, rate of fire) from a blaster, but in the end, we do this for fun; it really doesn’t matter if I can’t shoot as far or as fast as everyone else; being older and more fragile, I don’t mind that much if I get “out” early and can sit and have a rest for a while.

Winterstrike – SA AN
Of course and the answer is obvious; performance and durability. A stock gun not only shoots worse but is far more fragile. I buy all nerf guns with the assumption that they are “broken” out of the box and I need to fix them.

Swatsonia – WA SLO AN
I originally didn’t mod my blasters, instead relying upon my ability to run around. However, as WestNerf developed, this was no longer as effective as it used to be. Once I developed the taste for modifications, I haven’t stopped.

Chris – Riverina Dart Tag
Yes, I think I may have 3 blasters that are not modded, an AT that is still in the box, a whiteout long strike, still in the box, and my all time fav, a 1999 mint bnib Power clip.

Neil – Canberra and Southern NSW Dart Tag
Yes, but usually only to AR removed level or bit of extra voltage. I’ve got a couple of uber-modded blasters but I use them very rarely. With playing a lot of HvZ and indoor games where the effective ranges are very short it becomes a safety issue. As we always says when people ask us about mods they can use in our games: “If you’re happy to be shot in the face at point blank range with it, then we’ll allow it”

Girly Gamer – Nerfenstein
As above, I mod blasters externally for fun, I would like to get into internal modding as I find the entire process fascinating, but just haven’t had the time.

AJ – Foam Sports
Yes, quite often pretty serious mods too – complete re-shells, homemade internals, scratch built blasters etc I really enjoy the personal challenge and like designing and building new things. For me modding is about pushing boundries, not just the final range, so I often fail, but a few times I’ve succeeded (megaraider, bathplug plunger heads, conduit breeches etc) and these successes have gone on to be used by other nerfers to do even cooler things, which inspires me to keep trying, failing and spending ungodly ammounts of money in the plumbing section of bunnings.

Super high powered blasters are not appropriate for all (or most) settings though, so even though I love to mod, I maintain a stock kit and modded blasters at different power levels to cater for different wars, game types, player classes etc.

Alex – SOFT
Yes I modify most of my blasters. Some I keep in ‘stock’ form either due to A) lack of modding potential, B) they perform fine as they are, or C) for indoor, venue hire or ‘safe-rules’ games where modded blasters are excessive or not allowed.
But the main reasons why I DO modify certain blasters is because;

– In most outdoor or long-range conditions, most blasters right off the shelves don’t always cut the mustard
– Some blasters have great potential in them to perform better, or contain design flaws which impede on the overall enjoyment factor (for example; the Hail-Fire performs well in terms of firing and range, but the clip rack rotation device being so unwieldly and unreliable was not a great design and caused several firing and reloading problems – yet with some modding it can be resolved.)
– It personalises my blasters; they are *mine* – different from anyone elses. They become unique to me; I become more familiar and more comfortable with them and adjust them to suit my play-style or for a type of game mode I’m playing.
– It teaches me A LOT about how they work, how to fix broken parts and how to improve them or create ‘make-shift’ components. But the flipside is it teaches me quite a few life skills; how different simple mechanics and technologies work, how to use different tools for different purposes, how to expand my mind in terms of puzzles and problem solving, and opening my eyes to different creative possibilities.

I’m not pulling this out of the fancy ‘show-off and up-myself’ hat; there have been many “real-life” situations where my modding experiences have helped me and others out greatly. One memorable time is my wife lost one of her favourite (and expensive) earrings down the bathroom sink hole. I ‘modified’ our Dyson vacuum cleaner with drinking straws, wire, disposable drinking cups, hot glue, a pair of stockings (to catch the earring), a sealable plastic bag (to prevent the water from frying the vacuum cleaner) and a fistful of confidence that rescued it and saved us from either abandoning it to a sludgy doom or getting an expensive plumber to retrieve it @_@

Soapbox – General Blaster Care

Hello one and all,

Taking a moment of inspiration from our last game here. I had a relatively new member come up and ask me if I had any general suggestions about how he should best care for his blasters and darts. I quickly ran through a few points on the spot with him, but then figured it would probably make a pretty good topic to do a proper post on. So by that logic…

General Blaster Care!

1: Don’t leave blasters primed for an extended period of time.

Seems fairly self explanatory when you think about it, but don’t leave your blasters primed. All it will achieve it placing unneeded stress on the internals which will cause them to break/wear out faster. Leaving sprung blasters primed will also cost you range as the spring becomes used to the primed position as it’s natural state. An important point with this however is to take notice of the words ‘extended period of time’. By this I mean check your blasters before you go home at the end of a day, or even between games. Don’t worry about leaving it primed in game, the added benefit of being able to fire immediately is very useful. I’m sure some of you are giggling at this last point but I’ve genuinely seen players prime their blasters immediately before firing because someone told them it was bad to leave them primed.

 

2: Don’t dry fire sprung blasters.

Dry firing is where you prime and discharge the blaster without a dart in the barrel. This is particularly important with reverse plunger based blasters (Recon, Raider, Longstrike, Alpha Trooper, etc) but still applies to direct plunger based blasters. Dry firing places unnecessary strain on the internals. When you normally fire a sprung blaster, the air travels forward, hits the dart, begins to push it forward, but will still have some air remaining in the plunger tube to cushion the impact. With no dart, the air rushes out the barrel and gets no cushioning effect, smashing hard plastic together as hard as it possibly can.

 

3: Don’t leave darts in clips for an extended period of time.

I’m sure this has probably happened to most of you at some point as the darts are fairly noticeable. When you leave clips loaded for an extended period of time, the darts will become misshapen. The dart that was on top will end up with two indentations in line with the top of the clip, the ones underneath will become oval in shape. Both of these concerns will affect the seal between the dart and the chamber, and the inflight performance too. All in all, bad for your darts.

 

4: Don’t leave blasters in a car.

This is more relevant in warmer climates but still applicable to the cooler areas. The variances in temperature cause unnecessary stress on the plastics and can lead to premature failure.

 

5: Generally be nice to your blasters.

Try not to drop, throw, bang, etc. Should really go without saying but play nicely.

Soapbox – General rules of blaster play

Going to take a step away from the norm this week and kick off something I’ve been meaning to do for some time now; time for a general rant/opinion piece. There will be more entries to the soapbox as time goes on throughout this blog, but today’s topic is going to cover what I believe to be some general rules of blaster play. This isn’t going to talk about in game rules or tactics or anything like that, but rather what I believe to be an assortment of truths that many new comers don’t immediately pick up on. By all means, take this as an encouragement to get more involved in local games but also take it for what it is, general advice from someone is probably isn’t quite as good as he thinks he is.

1. You’re not as good as you think you are!

I mostly blame FPS video games for this (now there’s a sound bite and a half), but really video games in general could probably take a fair chunk of the credit. Call it an unfair stereotype it you must but a lot of the people who play with blasters also play a decent chunk of FPS’s. That in itself isn’t a bad thing and it makes a lot of sense; play with pretend guns in a virtual world, play with toys guns in real life. Instead, the problem stems from with it does to your ego. In FPS’s, you’re always the protagonist; in real life, you’re not. Protagonists get all sorts of super magical powers even when they’re just a “normal” dude/dudette.  They can run out in front of 50 henchmen all going nuts will full auto guns, not get hit, and still take out all 50 bad guys with only 20 shots. Conversely, you are just a “normal dude/dudette”. When you run out in front of even 5 people on another team, you’ll  just get shot.

Many people, particularly newcomers, then get frustrated by this. They were all psyched up for their first game. They’re read all about the rules and game types online, they’ve already built themselves an uber-blaster, they’ve got all these really cool ideas of the mad ‘jump-dive-roll-shoot 10 guys-backflip-shoot 10 more guys’TM sick moves they’re going to pull; then they turn up and get shot in the first 30 seconds of their first encounter. This is devastating for them. They had visions of how awesome they’d be and their reality didn’t quite match up to that. Unfortunately  this then sours their experience of the whole day and hurts the chances that they’ll come back.

Instead, what people need to understand is that blaster games are quite similar to most other things on the planet; you don’t get good at something just by thinking about it, you have to practice. For blaster games this mostly means attending more and more games. Sure you’ll have skills that will transfer over from other things you’ve done before but unless you’re some kind of freak, you will get better the more you play.

Crux of the argument is that you’re not as good as you think you are, don’t expect to be the best person on the field on your first outing. Learn to walk before you try to run (metaphorically of course, running it quite a useful skill to have!) and you’ll be fine.

2. You’re (probably) part of a team, don’t try and be the hero.

The vast majority of games I’ve been involved in, I’ve been a part of a team. Sure there are the odd occasion where it’s an ‘everyone for themselves’ type game, but they’re fairly few and far between. This then ties in fairly well with our first part but unless you’re some kind of super human protagonist type (re-read the first point if you have to because you’re not), you will need the help of your teammates. Going it alone will only get you shot. Learn to work with the other members of your team and you’ll have a lot more fun.

3. You don’t need an uber-blaster.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say that they didn’t want to get involved with an organised game because they didn’t have any really good modified blasters. Nuts to that. Turn up with what you’ve got and run with it. Sure you might not have the range or rate of fire of some of the other players, but you’ll still have fun. Take it as a learning experience; learn to play to your advantages and minimise your weaknesses. If you don’t have the massive range of an air blaster, learn to get up close and surprise people. Don’t have a high rate of fire, learn to make the shots you can take count. If you then do decide to later upgrade to a “better” blaster, all the skills you’ve picked up along the way will now be further amplified.

4. You don’t need 17 blasters.

Similar to the last point but albeit in a slightly different manner, don’t let your armoury stand in the way of you joining a game.  There will be people at your games who have 3 of every blaster ever released, you will be fine with practically anything. A single Hornet or Magstrike might cause you some problems, but any clip based blaster should be fine.

The more you play, the more you’ll get a chance to observe other players and figure out which blasters best suit your playing style. Allowing you to purchase only the things that you need.

5. Carry what you can actually use.

I’ve brought this point up with many players in the past but for some reason, lots of people immediately think that they need to carry at least a primary and a secondary. They’ll turn up with a Magstrike strapped to their back, a NiteFinder in their pocket, a LongShot in their hands and 12 clips spread around their person. How do you expect to be able to move? Blaster games are often fast paced, you will be at a disadvantage if you can’t move freely and effectively. Also, how do you plan on using all of those? The Magstrike is often a single use blaster and the other two each take two hands to reload. The answer is often someone along the lines of “I have this one as a backup” but really, how often do your blasters break mid game? Use one blaster to its potential, rather than using three half-assed.

On the darts front, it can be a little harder to know what you’ll need. For most games I’ll run with either a single 35 drum or two 18 clips taped together and not carry any spares. More often than not, that’s enough to last me a game. I’ll sometimes take another drum or pair of 18’s and leave them somewhere on the field (spawn points are good if the game type has one). Again, carrying extra things will just make it harder to move and slow you down. Take only what you need.

Ok, and that about wraps us up for this week. I do have a few more points in mind but we’re already fairly long on this post, so I’ll save those for another day.

Enjoy!

Soapbox – HvZ@ANU or how my love of toy blasters spreads goodwill to the world.

So without trying to make excuses, you’re all getting somewhat of a filler post this week. I’m currently in process of moving house and while all my blasters are all boxed up, I actually took a heap of photos to do walkthroughs with in the interim until the new garage was set up. Unfortunately, I forgot to take into account that I wouldn’t have a real internet connection at the new house initially 😦

So, coming to you from my desk at work during lunch time, I present to you a piece I wrote for the ‘2011 Urban Taggers Christmas Giveaway’. The topic was to send Pocket a letter, a photo, a video or some other way of ‘how your love of Urban Taggers and toy blasters spreads goodwill to the world’. Hope you all enjoy my take on how toy blasters made my world a better place.

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HvZ first came to the Australian National University in 2009, the third year of my Commerce degree. I had a decent group of friends I hung out with while at uni, exclusively made up of people I had gone to school with previously and people they had met through uni themselves. I had very few friends within my own degree and even fewer outside of the group I already knew before coming to uni. I found out about HvZ a few weeks before it kicked off through a lecturer of mine, talked to some of my mates and we decided to give it a go. None of us owned any blasters at this stage but we were told that Target was having a sale the following week. We all did our research regarding what blaster to pick up, met up at 8am the opening morning of the sale and grabbed an assortment of blasters between us. I decided to grab a BuzzBee Tommy 20 and BeltBlaster for myself for the game, and also picked up a Nerf Vulcan for my little brother’s birthday the following week.

PhotobucketMe at the Canberra Centre, about 8:30am with blasters for a bunch of people

A few days later we trucked along to the sign-up day, threw our $5 down to play and put our names down on the sheet. My friends and I decided to form a squad, Paranoia in Pajenkas (PiP), and had a jolly good time doing it. We had few people I hadn’t known before HvZ join us, but the squad was mostly my friends and I.

The game start rolled around and all of our brilliantly formed plans, and our squad, very quickly fell apart. Fortunately however, you immediately made friends with complete strangers simply because they were human. It didn’t matter what degree they were doing, how far through it they were, if they lived on or off campus; all that mattered was if their bandanna was on their arm as opposed to their head. I met more people in those first three days of HvZ than I had in the previous two and a half years of uni.

PhotobucketPrime example here; that’s me on the far left with the BeltBlaster.
Before the game I knew two other people in this photo, over two years after the game and I can still name all but one of them.

I ended up surviving right to the very end of the game, and while I’m quite proud of my efforts, when I look back on the good times we had it’s the people who made it magical. Sure surviving was great and I’d never have it any other way, but in the grand scheme of things it didn’t matter. The friends I met during that four day period are still some of my closest friends over two years on. However it wasn’t just the human side where these friendships were forming. My housemate at the time was turned fairly early and he still had an absolute ball, and made a completely different set of friends to me (funnily enough, predominantly zombies).

During the next six months while we all prepared for game two, it was incredible how many people I suddenly knew (or strangely, knew me). You almost couldn’t go to go to class without seeing someone from HvZ on the way there and someone else in your class too! I then started to get more involved in the administration side of the game, I even volunteered to be a moderator, and this is when the real friendships started to form. I spent an incredible amount of time with the other moderators, the executive of the club and the people who just wanted to help out. Most of the moderators practically lived together for the week of the game, often spending 10-12 hours a day with each other. Yes tempers flared on occasion and we had many a disagreement over in-game stuff, but looking back on it now almost two years later, I honestly can’t think of a better way to have spent that time.

PhotobucketMitch, myself and Glenn playing the roles of NPC’s during Game 2.

I could go on for hours here detailing the lead up, execution and aftermath of each game we played, and of course the unfortunate demise of the club, but I’m pretty sure you’ll all understand what I’m trying to say here. HvZ brought people together. It let first year students interact with post grads, it provided a reason for Engineering students talk to Art students, it gave ‘townies’ an excuse to get to know some of the ‘on campus’ folk; all without any form of prejudice. It instantly broke down social barriers and certainly made the university a better place for it.

Personally, HvZ was without a shadow of a doubt, the best experience of my time at university and probably the time of my life so far. I met so many people from such a wide range of backgrounds that I never would have encountered otherwise, all because we had these silly little foam dart blasters in common. I’ve since picked up blasters as a legitimate hobby and continue to play to this day, but I have many close friends who couldn’t care less about the blasters, yet still unconditionally love the game. Plenty of people met their now partners through HVZ, while countless more made good honest friendships. The camaraderie we all share to this day is incredible and I have a bunch of plastic guns to thank for that. So thank you Nerf and BuzzBee; thank you ANU for letting us play as long as you did; thank you to the original club founders for introducing us to this brilliant game; thank you to everyone who played and made it oh so special; and thank you Pocket from Urban Taggers for providing the motivation for me to write this, it’s brought back a lot of great memories.

PhotobucketEnd of Game 3, complete with me walking away from the camera (obviously on purpose to show off my awesome cape and not at all because I didn’t know they were taking the photo yet…)

Joe

Tools and Consumables for Blaster Modding

This week’s post is a response to a readers request and will be a little different from the content we’ve seen so far. Lots of different websites out there show you how to do a whole host of basic blaster mods, but in the spirit of encouraging others to get out there and try stuff for themselves, I’m instead just posting a list of tools and consumables I use when modifying blasters. Obviously, most of these won’t be needed most of the time, but having the right tool available for any given job is always going to make your life significantly easier. Sure you can punch out an AR with a screwdriver and a hammer, but having a hand drill is going to do a far better job and save you time, effort and heartache.

Our journey today will be split up into three parts; Tools, Consumables and Electrics. The first two should be fairly self explanatory, while the third will cover an assortment of both tools and consumables that will only be needed when performing modifications on electronic based blasters. Along the way we’ll also cover off a few generic ideas that I think are useful when it comes to modifying practically any blaster.

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So without further ado, Tools!

Screwdrivers. Without a shadow of a doubt, the most important tools you’re going to need when modifying blasters are a set of screwdrivers. You will need an assortment of different sized pan head or phillips head screwdrivers, and having a few flat heads around never hurt anyone either.

A screwdriver may seem like an incredibly simple tool, and it is, but a remarkable number of people don’t think about what they’re doing with it. When using a screwdriver, turn it slowly and purposefully; if you feel it start to slip, stop immediately. Blasters typically use small/weak screws that can strip quite easily. That and you’re screwing into plastic, so it’s also quite easy to strip/break the shell when screwing back in to it. Also, use the correct sized driver for a given screw. Trying to force a larger screw with a smaller tip, will only end up stripping the head. If you only buy one thing towards modifying your blasters, make sure it’s a selection of different sized screwdrivers.
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Scissors. Mostly used for cutting tape, I’m pretty sure you can probably figure out this one for yourself.

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Modeling Saw. Admittedly I don’t actually use this all that much any more. Most of the time a Dremmel will do a better job and be significantly faster, but there is the odd occasion where the Dremel simply doesn’t fit and you need to cut something by hand.

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Battery hand drill. Another incredibly useful, but often overlooked tool. As I mentioned at the start of this post, you *can* punch out an AR with a hammer and a screwdriver; however having the right tool (a hand drill) will both make the job easier and produce a better result. This is one of the more expensive tools we’ll be looking at today and could be difficult to justify if solely using it for modding blasters. If you don’t already own one, start thinking of other things you could potentially use it for and I’m sure you’ll be able to find the appropriate funds. While modifying blasters I mostly use mine for removing AR’s but there are plenty of other occasions where the ability to drill a hole in something is rather useful.

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Extra long drill bit. Having the drill may be all well and good, but without a bit long enough to reach an AR, it’s probably not going to be of much use. Again, just go buy one. They’re not that expensive and will make your life much easier. Sure it might cost $15, but think how many mods you’re going to do with it! You could probably get away with something ~200mm long, but ~300mm is what I’ve got as it was what I could find.

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Generic drill bit set. If you’ve gone to all the effort of getting a drill you, may as well get a decent selection of bits. I’m sure I’ve used these for a whole bunch of assorted blaster modifications but I can’t for the life of me think of any specific examples.

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Hot glue gun. Incredibly useful in the world of blaster modification. Hot glue is extremely easy to use, relatively cheap, and quite versatile. I’ve used hot glue for everything from gluing things together (shock horror I know), to reinforcing brittle parts of blaster shells, through to creating seals and plugging air leaks. If you’re going to go out and pick up a hot glue gun, splurge that little bit extra and get yourself a full sized one. The difference in price between it and one that uses the smaller sizes of glue sticks will be made up surprisingly quickly through the difference in glue sticks.

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Tape measure. Used to measure things? Yeah, this one should be fairly self explanatory. Remember the age old adage of “measure twice, cut once”.

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Side cutters. Another fairly straight forward tool. You won’t need it all that often, but situations will come up where you’ll think to yourself “if only I had a pair of side cutters…”

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Dremel (or in my case the Rotary Hobby Tool). Typically I dislike referring to generic things by a specific brand name, but I dislike the generic term of ‘rotary tool’ even more. That, and nobody knows what a ‘rotary tool’ is. Another rather expensive tool to add to the collection but well worth it. Once you own a dremel you will find so many uses for it it’s not funny. I use a Dremel branded one at work regularly and I’ve had this one at home for years; I can’t say I prefer one over the other. Based on this, I’d recommend buying the cheaper off brand alternative.

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Dremel bits. Like the drill, the dremel isn’t particularly useful without bits. For blaster modification the two most common bits you’ll need are the cutting disc and the grinding wheel. As crazy as it sounds, the cutting disc cuts things, while the grinding wheel grinds things away. Unlike this tool itself, I do recommend that you stay with the Dremel branded bits. I’ve tried some of the off brand bits and they never seem to last as long as the Dremel ones do.

If you’re planning on working with brass barrels and breechs, I’d also suggest getting some polishing wheels too. Far easier than doing it by hand and can also get inside the brass as well.

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Knife. Retractable, snap off blades, one piece; whatever, just make sure it’s sharp and always cut away from yourself. Don’t do what Donny Don’t does!

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Hand Files. I know I’ve only pictured one here but you’ll want an assortment of relatively fine files. The most important one to have is a round file, at least 200mm long. This will allow you to clean up the dags left over after ramming a drill through an AR and it will make a difference. Beyond that I also have a collection of small files for very detailed work, and the large flat file pictured. Regularly you’ll just grind things away with your dremel, but there will be occasions where the hand tool is needed.

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Small containers. Ok, so not really a tool as such but something I still strongly suggest having and feel it’s worth including. Small containers, such as spray can lids, are brilliant for storing screws and other small parts in whilst your blaster is in pieces. Everything just goes straight in to the container and you can’t loose parts. Always find something to put parts in, don’t lust leave them on the bench.

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Consumables!

Teflon tape. Found in the plumbing section of your local hardware store, teflon tape is an incredibly thin form of tape. You’ll use it for padding out O-rings to improve the seal in your blasters. I’ll also mention here that you can achieve a similar outcome with electrical tape, but because it’s thicker you can’t be as precise and therefore won’t get as good a result.

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Electrical tape. One of those things that’s just hand to have around. I mostly use it for holding blasters together for testing purposes.

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Masking tape. Used for masking off certain areas before painting. Probably not needed if you don’t intend on painting your blasters.

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Cloth tape. Similarly to the electrical tape, cloth tape is just a useful thing to have around. I’m sure you’ll find uses for it if you had some.

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Markers. Going back to the logic above of ‘measure twice, cut once’, it really pays off to have some good quality markers around.

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Foam padding. I haven’t actually touched on this subject before and do plan of doing a full post on it in the future, so for now I’ll be brief. Modifying your blasters will reduce their life. You can do things to mitigate against this, padding your plungers for example, but they will never last as long as if you left them as they were from the factory. I’ve tried a variety of padding’s in the past and have never really been satisfied with them. Currently testing out some OzNerfNerd ones, but don’t have any real data on them so far. Based on what the rest of the internet says you probably should get some form of padding, but I’m unconvinced personally.

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Lube. You should be lubing your blasters fairly regularly if they’re seeing regular use. Also a good idea to re-lube plungers after recreating a seal.

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Aftermarket O-rings. There are a world of aftermarket parts suppliers out there for foam dart blasters, most of which can supply you with replacement or improved O-rings. I like to have an assortment floating around at any given time, but you could just order them as you need or even just rely on teflon tape to improve your seals.

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Generic collection of springs. Some of these were specifically bought but most would be left overs from other blasters (hint: don’t throw out pieces from old or broken blasters, they might come in useful some day). Very handy to have an assortment of springs around. I’ll mostly use these for improving trigger catches, but there are plenty of occasions where the perfect spring just happens to be in my bits bag.

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Glue. I’ve only pictured a tube of Tarzan’s Grip below but you will need an assortment of different adhesives, depending on what you’re doing. Fast drying general glues, like Tazan’s Grip, are great for things where you can get a decent purchase but don’t need it to be ‘end of the world’ style strong. This includes things like nesting brass barrels, gluing PVC over-barrels to plastic blaster shells, etc. This would be my mostly commonly used glue. Your tradition Super Glue is also pretty useful for this sort of stuff.

When you need something to be super strong, you then have to move into the world of two part epoxies. There are a whole assortment of 5 minute, 24 hr, 48hr, 5 days, etc, variants out there. Personally, if I want something to stick really well, I just jump straight to the longest drying time I can find. Things like priming bars to the outside of breeches or nozzles on air tanks cop a fair amount of force, so go the epoxy there as an example.

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PVC solvent. Used to stick PCV pipe together. Fairly self explanatory.

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Metal polish. If you’re making a brass breech of some description you really should invest in some decent metal polish. Polish up the brass where it will be sliding over another piece and your breech will work significantly easier.

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Modeling putty. Can be used for cosmetic purposes but I mostly use mine for reinforcing weaker parts of shells or making guides for parts to move in a certain way. Modeling shops will get you better quality stuff, but hardware stores will get you far cheaper stuff and often larger quantities.

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Aftermarket springs. Probably not something you need to have a stack of just lying around, but something I felt worth including in here all the same. Multiple different sellers are offering replacement springs to the market today; I’m not going to praise nor bag out any of them at this stage, simply because I haven’t had enough experience with most of them.

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Paint. When painting, I typically go for the cheapest paint available and make it work. Others throughout the internets will swear by some of the more expensive brands, good for them. To me the most important part is your prep, not the paint itself. I’ll go over more of this in detail when I actually do a re-paint for a blaster.

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Electrical!

Soldering iron and solder. Kind of a recurring theme here, but save yourself some hassle and get yourself a soldering iron if you intend on doing electrical modifications. You can often get away with a simple ‘twist and tape’ method of joining wires but some good old fashioned solder will make the join significantly stronger. Also useful for cleanly unsoldering existing wires within a blaster.
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Multimeter. Another must have for electrical mods. You basically can’t troubleshoot without one.

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Assorted batteries and holders. Another useful thing to just have lying around for testing, but really not nessecary if you’re just following a guide you got off the internet.

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Assorted wire. Bridging connections, wiring in new battery holders; so many uses it’s not funny. If playing with electronics, you will at some point need some extra wire.

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Wire strippers. Another very useful but not essential tool. If you’re skilled you can strip wires with a pair of side cutters or even a pair of scissors, but it’s far easier with the right tool.

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